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Fight corruption, improve infrastructure, pleads Mo

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BAK, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Mar 15, 2009
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    Fight corruption, improve infrastructure, pleads Mo

    2009-03-14 11:37:21
    By Perege Gumbo

    Notable mobile communications entrepreneur Dr Mohamed Ibrahim has said corruption and poor infrastructure are the key impediments to poverty alleviation efforts in Tanzania and other African economies.

    The Sudanese-born Briton, popularly known as Mo Ibrahim, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with The Guardian in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.

    It was conducted on the sidelines of the just-ended two-day International Monetary Fund-Africa meeting, which he had come to attend.

    Mo, who is regarded as one of the most successful business leaders in Africa, discussed the challenges of development facing the continent.

    He said it was important for African governments and nations to seek to make the myriad dreams of improving the people`s lives come true.

    ``Corruption and inferior infrastructure backbones are the real enemies of the people of this part of the world,`` explained the entrepreneur, who has set up a foundation that offers the largest annually awarded prize in the world to recognise and celebrate excellence in African leadership.

    This fund consists of USD5 million over 10 years and USD 200,000 annually for life thereafter and is aimed at promoting the continent`s development, with a special focus on good governance in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Mo challenged African governments to engage a higher gear in the war on corruption ``because this vice makes it very hard for small economies to take off``.

    He noted that, a part of his contribution towards helping the continent solve the two pressing problems, his foundation has committed USD200 million for investment in African countries.

    ``The money will go into stimulating debate on good governance, helping the taxpayers in the respective countries hold their government accountable and facilitating development of sustainable infrastructure backbones,`` he said, urging the continent to wage ``a decisive all-out war on corruption and pump more money into the development of infrastructure.

    Mo explained that poor infrastructure ruined African economies by making the cost of doing business there unrealistically high.

    He specifically cited roads, water, ports, railways and airports but also mentioned electricity generation and supply, health and education.

    ``African countries should re-examine the financing of their communication and other infrastructure and ensure physical infrastructure are upgraded as appropriate to attract local and international investments,`` he said.

    He added that the African continent enjoyed high returns on investments ``and what it now needs is to put to better use the financial resources and investments at its disposal to improve infrastructure``.

    Mo observed that Africa`s problems were compounded by governments` reluctance, inability or refusal to fully enable the private sector ``which would be one way of reinforcing public private partnership (PPP).

    With improved infrastructure, he said, African entrepreneurs could invest more in their own countries and minimise dependence on foreign direct investment.

    He also underlined the need to invest more in education and human resource development ``so as to cope with rapid technological changes in the world``.

    Commenting on the current global economic downturn, the entrepreneur said: ``It has now become all the more evident that the capitalist system has failed.

    This is because efforts to bail out bankrupt financial institutions and companies in Europe and America are inherently contrary to the very nature of that system.

    ``The institutions should be left to go under or to be acquired by those still financially strong enough instead of spending billions of taxpayers` money in making frantic attempts to rescue poorly managed institutions,`` he added.

    The high-profile IMF-Africa meeting ended in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday with joint call for concerted and urgent world action to reduce the impact of the global economic meltdown on African economies.

    Hamad Rashid Mohamed, Leader of the Official Opposition in the National Assembly, said when reached for comment yesterday that corruption had disastrous consequences in most of Africa ``mainly because it destabilises national economies, thus stunting national development``.

    ``Many corrupt African leaders have deposited in foreign countries hefty amounts of money which, if invested back home, would have significantly helped in improving the infrastructure and invigorating economic development,`` he noted.

    ``It is true that corruption and poor infrastructure very adversely affect the development of most African countries,`` he added.

    He said a lot of funding goes into financing the implementation of huge and expensive infrastructure projects `in which grand corruption is a common feature`.

    SOURCE: Guardian